How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Cordova Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Cordova AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Cordova AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cordova AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Cordova AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Cordova AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Cordova AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cordova AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Cordova AL program you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Cordova AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Cordova AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cordova AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cordova home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cordova AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Cordova Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cordova AL.